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Old 10-23-2014, 06:37 PM   #1
CodeBlue's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2009
From: Seattle, WA
Posts: 20
Standard for pistol marksmanship?

To get it out of the way early: I suck with a pistol. I'm not missing the broadside of a barn bad, but beyond 7 yards I'm basically worthless.

What's a good goal to aim (no pun intended) for? Right now I'm able to hold my rounds within a fist at 3 yards firing once every second. I figure if I can do that at 7 yards I'm doing something right, but I really don't know. None of my friends are pistol shooters, so I'm kind of lost.

I spent 5 years with a Glock 23 and just switched this month to an HK P30S 9mm. Beyond my familiarization shooting, how many rounds should I be shooting to get proficient with the DA/SA trigger?

Does anyone have any insight as to how good I should be to comfortably carry? I'm looking for a definitive goal to work towards, rather than just a general "get better".

P.S. for the next 6-9 months I'm going to be living somewhere with a backyard range while I recover from shoulder surgery. My plan is to work on my weak hand while I'm unable to move my right arm, but after 6 weeks I should be able to get back to shooting right handed. My current plan is to run about a thousand rounds a month through the pistol, though I can up it to 2,000 if need be.
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:16 PM   #2
Fast Eddie's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2012
From: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 266
I'm no deadeye with a pistol either, the thing that has helped me the most is using a variety of methods to improve my shooting.

1. Sit with a cleared empty gun and pull the trigger, watch what the gun is doing in your hand while you are pulling the trigger. Make observations and corrections.

2. Make sure that your grip on the pistol is correct. Use a chart that shows common shooting errors in different areas of the target. Make the corrections and see if it helps.

3. Ask-Lots of good match shooters out there, many are happy to show you how you can be shooting better. I've gotten some good tips and observations from folks that can stand next to me and coach me to make adjustments.
Old 10-24-2014, 09:55 AM   #3
sunofnun's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2009
From: s. greenlake bitch
Posts: 1,684
Get a good target .22 and shoot it a lot..

once you get static targets down, start shooting moving targets.

Bigger guns will fall in line as well.. but I bet you'll see a huge improvement with a light caliber. It makes all your "flinch/jerk/pull" mistakes very obvious because you don't have much recoil.

So you'll suddenly get very consistant high/right groups.. likely your trigger finger is too heavy and your pulling.

Or youll group low center.. cause your pushing into the shot and lowering the front of the pistol.. etc etc etc..

I guess it's kinda like golf? Lots to look at.

Also grab a goPro and video tape yourself shooting from a rest. See if you see any incorrect gun movement.
Old 10-24-2014, 09:57 AM   #4
sunofnun's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2009
From: s. greenlake bitch
Posts: 1,684
Also Double action triggers are MUCH MUCH harder to shoot accurately...
LOTS of pull time and much more spring tension.

Go to the range and try a quality 1911. (not the cheapest route ammo wise) but the triggers and the way they hold make up quite a bit about why guys like to shoot them.

I can shoot most pistols well.. takes a mag or two to figure out how to shoot them.. but lots and lots of basic foundation as a kid kinda drilled it into me.
Old 10-24-2014, 10:14 AM   #5
CodeBlue's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2009
From: Seattle, WA
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by sunofnun View Post
Get a good target .22 and shoot it a lot..
That makes an awful lot of sense. The reason I'm good with a rifle is because I grew up with a BB gun on several acres with no cable TV. I could hit anything with that rifle, and it translated nicely to .22, then larger calibers.

I've also got a GoPro cruising around here somewhere, so I'll give that a shot as well.

Now I guess it's time to find a little Ruger .22.


Last edited by CodeBlue; 10-24-2014 at 10:17 AM.
Old 01-17-2015, 01:23 AM   #6
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 18
Originally Posted by CodeBlue View Post
My current plan is to run about a thousand rounds a month through the pistol, though I can up it to 2,000 if need be.

That's awesome that you could practice that much. However, that being said that might be just money down the toilet if you are not practicing right. Some of the best bang for the buck is to get some good professional training to get you going on the right track. Once you know the right way and skills to practice then put the time in on the range.

Some good proactive defensive pistol standards are Paul Howe's CSAT standards. Emphasis on Accuracy at speed.

Do a lot of dry practice and concentrate on trigger press. Balance on empty cartridge case (223) on your front sight and work on pressing the trigger without knocking the cartridge case off. There are some other drills to delete the trigger snatch, which is typically the problem most folks have past 7 yard line. Hope that helps.
Old 01-17-2015, 07:13 AM   #7
Joined: Sep 2010
From: Portland, OR
Posts: 1
First place to start is your grip...

I used to be about the same ball park as you and after I took a class to qualify for an action range certificate at my gun club, in which an instructor changed up my grip, I can hit an 1-inch diameter target at 20 yards, 4 out of 5 times, with anything I've shot so far, 9mm, .45, or a 44-magnum.
Old 01-18-2015, 05:56 AM   #8
sunofnun's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2009
From: s. greenlake bitch
Posts: 1,684
Also some guns inherently shoot better..

I can shoot my 5" XD .45acp out at 50 yrds and with some kind of rest 100yrds and put holes in a human silouette..

my groupings aren't super amazing.. but they are wayyy better if I'm shooting a 1911 at the same targets..

The tiny guns get more useless at those ranges.
Old 04-16-2015, 09:07 PM   #9
Joined: Apr 2015
From: Seattle Wa
Posts: 14
I would say work toward keeping 10 shots in a row at a decent pace in about a head size target 8inch or so at 25 yards. and same 10 shots in a 3inch or so target at 7 yards i feel that once you get to that point you will find that you will be the best shot on most public ranges on any given day.

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